Operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons have arrested the directors of two travel and tour agencies in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Ibrahim Wali and Nasiru Jubril, for allegedly trafficking 96 Nigerians to Saudi Arabia, using the 2017 Hajj exercise as pretext.
According to NAPTIP in a release on Friday, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria had written a letter of complaint against one of the travel agencies, which got allocation to take 450 persons to Saudi Arabia during the 2017 Hajj exercise.
NAPTIP said, however, months after the Hajj operations ended, the company was unable to account for 96 of the people it took to the Asian country, noting that every attempt by the company to bring the people back proved abortive.
Our correspondent learnt that in the course of the investigation, Wali alleged that it was his friend, Jubril, who transacted the business and was culpable for the missing persons.
The anti-trafficking agency said the two suspects were making useful statements as investigation continued.
Speaking on the arrest, the NAPTIP Director–General, Julie Okah–Donli, warned travel and tour operators in the country to desist from recruiting Nigerians for sexual and labour exploitation, adding that their actions were inimical to the development of the country.